CLOSURE - Latest information is in our new website section
Friday 20 March - Arrangements for school closure commencing
As we move towards an extended period of closure we are finalising our plans for teaching and learning online. In order that staff have an additional opportunity to prepare whilst on site we will be closing to students at the earlier time of 11am on Friday.
School will be open for all students except those in Year 11 on Friday from 8:40am to 11am. During this time we will brief students on our provision and expectations for online learning, advice on keeping safe and how to contact teachers and support staff during the closure. A limited selection of food will be available during a breaktime. Year 11 students should not attend.
Students will be asked to empty their lockers on Friday to ensure they have learning resources and exercise books at home. An additional carrier bag would be useful.
If sending your child home earlier presents a problem for childcare then please email details using email@example.com and we will make arrangements for them to stay on site until 3:20pm.
We will be sending a comprehensive document home to all parents this evening to explain how the school will be supporting learning and how we will safeguard our students from the start of school closure tomorrow.
Thursday - Year 9 not to attend
7:45am Thursday - School open for all year groups except Year 9.
Year 9 will also not attend on Friday
We will provide a further update this afternoon.
Highlands School Coronavirus Update 18:00 Wednesday 18th March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
The UK Government has announced that English schools will shut at the end of the day on Friday and they have suggested that GCSE and A-levels will not take place in May or June. The Government has also said that the most vulnerable children and children of key workers will have the opportunity to attend school.
These developments are significant but not unexpected. We hope to hear more from Government in the upcoming days about their decision. When we do we will inform you of how Highlands School will be responding to the closure of schools nationally and how we can support students.
Our plans for tomorrow remain the same; school is open tomorrow to all year groups other than year 9. We will allow as many year groups into school as possible on Friday, the school website should be checked at 3:00pm each day and at 7:45am every morning for updates.
I would like to thank staff, parents, students and our Governing Body for their ongoing positivity. Please be assured that everyone at Highlands School remains fully committed to supporting our school community through these unprecedented and difficult times.
Highlands School Daily Update 14:30 Wednesday 18th March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
Please note the following key updates regarding our response to the coronavirus:
- As of 14:30 today, we plan to be open to all year groups apart from year 9 tomorrow. Year 9 are to remain at home. Work will be available on Google Classroom online for year 9 from 9:00am Friday morning.
- Scottish and Welsh schools are shutting from Friday. The English Secretary of State for Education Gavin Willimason will be making a commons statement at 5pm today. We will send a further update after that statement via email and website after 5pm today.
- If we suffer further staffing shortages overnight we may need to close school for other year groups tomorrow, please check the website at 7:45am tomorrow morning as usual.
The current staffing levels available for tomorrow indicate that we will not be able to adequately cover the timetable for all year groups without some redeployment of staff. For this reason, it will be necessary for year 9 students to remain at home on Thursday so that we can continue with younger students and exam classes in all other year groups.
We understand that childcare can be difficult at this time but appreciate your support whilst we negotiate through these challenging circumstances. For any year 9 parent or carer who is employed in a critical role (such as the NHS) and who is not able to arrange necessary childcare arrangements we are able to offer a special timetable to allow a student to attend. If you need your child to attend school please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, please include the name and form of your child and your role within the NHS or vital care services. Please note that we would require the student to attend for the full day. All other Year 9 absence will be authorised and we will not contact parents unless they have notified us that their child is attending as described above.
This afternoon staff are taking part in training to prepare for online learning suing the Google Classroom platform. If you anticipate problems with access to the internet please contact Mr Osman email@example.com for guidance and support. Please also see the letter I sent to the school community on Friday.
Please remember that should your child show symptoms of coronavirus they should not come to school. If they show symptoms at school, we will send them home. In terms of responding to a member of your household who displays coronavirus symptoms, please note the following guidance from www.gov.uk: "if you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day whenthe first person in the house became ill"
Finally, my thanks to all members of the school community for your continued support at this time.
Wednesday 18 March - school open as usual today
Y7 Ed-Extra is cancelled today (Wednesday 18th). Y7 will be dismissed at 2:15pm along with all other students. However, supervision will be provided in the canteen from 2:15-3:15pm if Y7s wish to remain in school.
Y12 parents' evening today (Wednesday 18th) is also cancelled.
If you child is absent from school please call the absence line on 020 8370 1191
Tuesday 17 March
Dear Parents and Carers,
Today Highlands school was open to all year groups. Although we had some staff absence the school remained open and we believe it is very likely we will remain open to all year groups tomorrow, with the exception of the after school Ed-Extra programme (see below). Please make sure that you check the website at 7:45am tomorrow for the daily update.
Y7 Ed-Extra is cancelled tomorrow (Wednesday 18th). Y7 will be dismissed at 2:15pm along with all other students. However, supervision will be provided in the canteen from 2:15-3:15pm if Y7s wish to remain in school.
Y12 parents' evening tomorrow (Wednesday 18th) is also cancelled.
If the school partially or fully closes we will provide work to students in line with the letter I sent to parents last week (available below). Please make sure you have read the letter. We cannot provide work to individual students who are not in school.
Please remember that should your child show symptoms of coronavirus they should not come to school. If they show symptoms at school, we will send them home. In terms of responding to a member of your household who displays coronavirus symptoms, please note the following guidance from www.gov.uk: "if you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill"
13th March 2020
Yesterday the Government announced the UK has moved to the ‘delay’ phase of its plan to tackle Coronavirus. In preparation for the announcement, this week I have been in regular communication with the Highlands School Governing Body and have attended meetings with the Chief Executive and the Director of Education of Enfield Council. I am writing to you to inform you of the measures we are taking at Highlands School in response to Government guidance and what contingencies we have in place in the eventuality of school closure.
To make sure Highlands School is clean and any infection is less likely to be spread around the school, our PFI partners Pinnacle, who are responsible for facilities management, have increased the cleaning of the site with particular focus on toilets and eating areas. They are routinely wiping door handles and, if required, will carry out a deep clean of the building. To avoid the spread of the virus the main advice from Government remains regular handwashing for 20 seconds with soap.
The UK's chief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitty yesterday said that anyone who develops a persistent cough or fever should self isolate for a period of seven days. This is the guidance that we are giving to staff and students. Normal routines for informing the school of student absence should be followed.
Students may bring hand sanitiser to school and use it. The UK Government document ‘COVID-19: guidance for educational settings’ (link below), is clear that, “Face masks for the general public, pupils or students, or staff are not recommended to protect from infection, as there is no evidence of benefit from their use outside healthcare environments.” Therefore, they will not be allowed in school.
Contingencies in the event of confirmed cases of Coronavirus at Highlands School or in the event of partial or full school closure.
‘COVID-19: guidance for educational settings’ states that, in the event of a confirmed case, ‘a risk assessment will be undertaken by the educational establishment with advice from the local Health Protection Team. In most cases, closure of the childcare or education setting will be unnecessary but this will be a local decision based on various factors such as establishment size and pupil mixing.’ If the school does have a confirmed case Pinnacle will carry out a deep clean of the school before it reopens.
Partial closure of school due to staff absence
Please note that in the event of partial or full school closure, all communication with parents will be through email and the school website.
It is possible that, although we will not be instructed to close by Public Health England, we may find it difficult to run the school as normal. This would be, for example, if we did not have enough staff to run the school because of absence through illness or dependency.
In these circumstances:
- We remain open for as many year groups as possible, with particular focus on years 10, 11 and 13 as they have GCSE and A-level examinations in May and June.
- If school is not fully open we will try to highlight the risk of partial closure the day before.
- If, on any day, the school cannot fully open, we will inform students and parents by 7.45am.
Full closure of Highlands School
If the Government closes all schools or if PHE advises Highlands to close we will inform parents by email and on the school website. Staff may or may not be allowed to attend school in this eventuality but, either way, Highlands School staff will be working hard to ensure the impact of the closure on students’ learning is kept to a minimum. Please carefully read the information below about how students will be supported in the eventuality of school closure:
Highlands will maintain its commitment to safeguarding students. Emergency contacts to report safeguarding concerns will be published and we will make regular checks on our most vulnerable students.
This morning the UK's chief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitty said that if schools close, they could close for a protracted period of time. Photocopying resources and work for such a prolonged period of time is not practical, particularly as we may have very little notice if we have to shut. We will be using the school’s Google domain, the ‘G Suite’, as the primary means of setting and monitoring work.
The G Suite includes Gmail, the Google Drive, Google Classroom and access to the Google versions of Word, PowerPoint and Excel. If the school closes teachers will be expected to log on daily and set work for the classes they would normally be teaching. Resources can be uploaded. Students can ask questions and have them answered. Work can be electronically submitted and marked. The school can move to the G Suite at very short notice and we can teach using the G Suite for as long as the school remains closed.
What can parents and carers do to support this?
Highlands students use the G Suite in all of their computing lessons and in some other subjects so they are familiar with it. For use at home, students will need access to the internet and to a suitable device (laptop, computer or tablet). If internet access or access to a suitable device is likely to be a problem in the event of school closure, please email Mr Jem Osman, the assistant headteacher overseeing this part of the contingency plan. Mr Osman’s email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, to fully train all staff in the use of the G Suite and to start moving our resources into the Google Drive, Highlands is cancelling the year 12 parents’ evening on Wednesday 18th March, next week. This will allow all of our staff to remain in school for an extended period of time to make sure that, in the eventuality of school closure, learning can immediately move online, uninterrupted, for as long as the school might be closed. Staff members will email year 12 parents with important information and we will rearrange the parents’ evening in due course.
I would like to thank students and the school community for their calm and stoic response to the Coronavirus so far. Please monitor the school website and emails for further updates.
Link to ‘COVID-19: guidance for educational settings’: